Pure knowing (liang zhi) as moral feeling and moral cognition: Wang Yangming’s phenomenology of approval and disapproval (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  27 ,  4  ;  309-323  ;  2017

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The main goals of this paper are two. First, it articulates what kinds of knowing pure knowing (liang zhi) is in its narrow sense (approval and disproval) (1) pure knowing as the capacity of moral judgment; (2) pure knowing (of Heavenly principle) as moral knowledge and standard. Besides, it analyses pure knowing’s different features through a phenomenological description. All these aspects of pure knowing are tied by moral feeling. Second, this paper addresses two sets of theoretical problems that have been raised in Confucian discourse with respect to pure knowing and Heavenly principle, primarily those that render Wang’s notion of pure knowing to be static recognition toward particular moral issues, or immediate response, which reading cannot really admit the possibilities of extension, reflection, moral cultivation, and reform of institution; and those that understand pure knowing to be merely abstract without concrete content, such as merely being a metaphysical substance. When properly understood, that is, from the perspective of moral emotions, Wang Yangming’s account of pure knowing provides for the possibilities of enhancement and cultivation, while insisting that the content of pure knowing is always accessible to us.

Table of contents – Volume 27, Issue 4

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Is Confucianism a religion? Modern Confucian theories on the ethical nature of classical discourses
Rosker, Jana S | 2017
On recognition and self: a discussion based on Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Buddhism
Fan, Wenli | 2017
Pure knowing (liang zhi) as moral feeling and moral cognition: Wang Yangming’s phenomenology of approval and disapproval
Lu, Yinghua | 2017
For a philosophy of comparisons: the problems of comparative studies in relation with Daoism
Lacertosa, Massimiliano | 2017
Reasons and doubt in Dharmottara and his critics
Nowakowski, David | 2017
Influence of Interaction: A Study of Zhu Xi’s Reading of the Taijitu Shuo and the Tongshu
Li, Lizhu | 2017